Ben-Hur is the fifth adaptation of the 1880 novel, Ben-Hur : a tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace. It is still considered today “the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century”. It is a work of fiction but it has touched millions of people.

A best-seller only surpassed by the bible.

Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) and Messala (Toby Kebbell) are more than just adopted brothers. They are tight friends and spend many days racing against each other in chariots for fun. However, in a world divided by religion and hate, it is difficult to choose the right path. Judah is from a noble Jewish family but Messala is Roman and wants to be able to stand on his own two feet without the help and money of his brother. He enrolls in the Roman army and becomes an officer. When he returns to Jerusalem, nothing is the same. After an incident in Judah’s home, Messala, who needs a culprit to appease his superiors, accuses his brother of treason and sentences him to the galley and his family to death. Ben-Hur will have only survival for revenge in mind. Will he get it? Is the path of anger the right way to go?

In the same line as Gladiator.

I haven’t seen the 1959 Ben Hur with Charlton Heston and Haya Harareet but I believe that this 21st century version is quite good. The special effects required to reenact the great chariot races of the time have become mind blowing.

It is a story that touches people because it is about betrayal and revenge but most importantly with the apparition of Jesus of Nazareth the duty to forget and forgive. I am not a religious person myself and I have to say that some scenes were underwhelming but forgiveness is universal. A person can be so consumed by rage that it will eat them up alive. One small point for the fans of the book or the previous films, it is more of an action movie rather than an epic mastermind. It is very condensed (2 hours). Don’t get your hopes up. For the younger generation though, it will be entertaining.

Also, watch out for Morgan Freeman. He is great, as always.